First Time for Everything!
Bodie was sweating. They'd been at this stage for about ten minutes, and it wasn't getting any easier. Doyle was there, encouraging, supporting, his arms around Bodie's shoulders.
"C'mon, Bodie, all you gotta do is relax, that makes it easier."
"Easier?" He gulped a breath down, "how can you say that? It's simple for you to say, you've done this before."
Stroking Bodie's arms, Doyle responded, "I may have done this before, but don't you think I was in this situation, once upon a time?"
"But it's so hard, Ray. So...so...bloody hard. I don't know if I can do this...."
"'Course you can, sunshine. Take some more deep breaths, and just relax, right?"
Bodie tried. He stretched his body out, inhaled and exhaled several times, and attempted to loosen up his tense muscles. Doyle massaged his neck, his nimble fingers finding the tension there.
Straining with the effort of trying to relax, Bodie clenched his fists. Doyle noticed.
"Sunshine, you won't relax by clenching your fists."
"I know!" Bodie was getting annoyed by this time, and it took all his effort not to fling Doyle off him and across the room. "Ray...Ray...I'm sorry, I didn't mean that. I do appreciate that you're trying to help me...but...it just won't fit! It won't bloody fit, I'm telling you!"
"Yeah, it will. You just gotta relax. C'mon, Bodie mate, let go. Take a couple more deep breaths. You can do it, honestly."
"It's...hard, so very hard, Ray. Hang about, lemme try again."
Bodie shut his eyes and heaved a couple of deep breaths. Suddenly, the tension departed, leaving a very relieved Bodie and Doyle.
"Ray? I think...I think I managed it! Yes, yes...yes! I did it, Ray!"
"You certainly did! Well done, Bodie! I'm proud of you."
Bodie smiled shyly at his friend. "Thanks Ray, would never have done it without you."
"Your first Sun crossword, completely finished in less than a day! Soon we'll have you doing the Times crossword!"
Racing away from Bodie, Doyle almost made the doorway before said crossword hit him in the back, and a laughing Bodie quickly followed it.
-- THE END --
21 June 2004
AUTHOR'S NOTE: For anyone NOT in the UK, the Sun is a very very down-market daily tabloid newspaper. It has a crossword within its pages, but it's usually quite easy...it has to be, to cater for the type of people who read the Sun. On the other hand, The Times is a high quality broadsheet, usually read by Professionals (pardon the pun) and has a very very difficult cryptic crossword within its pages.